Inventory Allows for More Diverse Combat
Previous Zelda games have given Link a sword for cutting up enemies, and a variety of items earned by completing dungeons that could be used to solve puzzles and open combat possibilities. Breath of the Wild switches things up by not restricting players to a single weapon. They can pick up all kinds of swords, shields, axes, spears, clubs and bows.
Not to mention the many types of food and monster parts that can be cooked into meal and elixirs. The expanded inventory means that every situation requires more planning than any prior Zelda game. Are you in the middle of a lightning storm? Then you can’t just swing metal weapons around or you might get zapped. The world is much more expansive and the inventory system gives players a way to tackle it.
Getting All Runes at the Beginning Opens Up the World to Players Immediately
Because Breath of the Wild is such an open, non-linear game, gathering your items from one dungeon at a time would have made for a strange pacing and progression. Instead, in the Great Plateau, the game’s starting area, you are given access to four runes: bombs, Crynosis, Stasis, and Magnesis. They serve as the backbone for every puzzle in the game and world exploration.
Even without receiving a new tool every couple of hours the game still manages to feel fresh thanks to the varied uses of each one of these runes. Receiving them right off the bat also allows for plenty of practice time. By the time you’re 50 hours in, you’ll know exactly how to wield these technological marvels.
Shrines offer the puzzles of a Zelda game in a way that is friendly to the open world structure
There are still dungeons in Breath of the Wild, four to be exact. They still offer some of the best and most thought provoking puzzles in the entire game, but with a world this large, the four dungeons don’t exactly cut it in the puzzle department.
That’s where shrines come in. Each one serves as a small mini dungeon, with a puzzle or two that needs solving and a spirit orb at the end as a reward. These orbs can be exchanged for health or stamina upgrades, so the challenge isn’t the only reason to track down shrines. There are 120 spread throughout Hyrule, meaning that there are always plenty of unique challenges to set your sights on, constantly offering something that isn’t combat or climbing.
Story is Much More Dynamic and Emotional
Once you exit the great plateau, the story is told in whatever order you want it to be. Because Link has been asleep for 100 years the majority of the story is told through flashbacks. It keeps the action moving forward while consistently filling players in on the mysterious events that caused Hyrule to fall under the control of Ganon once more.
Breath of the Wild is also the first Zelda title to feature voice acting. The majority of the dialogue is still delivered through text, but pivotal scenes get a bit more showmanship, delving into characters in a way that brings the entire world to life further.
World feels alive and thriving
The Legend of Zelda games haves always placed players in worlds filled to the brim with deep lore and interesting characters. Breath of the Wild continues this trend, crafting a world dotted with small towns, stables, and inns bustling with people and multiple secrets to discover. The enemies will sleep at night and seek shelter from the rain. Animals will frolic in the grass, and the weather can change in an instant. Everything you find throughout Hyrule interacts in clever and unique ways, creating an ecosystem that feels far from fabricated.
Sense of Challenge Returns a Feeling of Danger to the Series
The Legend of Zelda games have always been designed so they can be completed without too much trouble. They haven’t been truly difficult since the days of the original title and its follow-up, The Adventure of Link. Breath of the Wild, meanwhile, is brutally difficult at times. Not only can various enemies kill you in a single hit, weapon durability means you never really know when you might be without a way to fight back.
Regaining health is also more difficult, requiring the player to find and cook various ingredients. This renewed sense of challenge also makes for a more rewarding experience. Each new victory feels earned. It isn’t just the strength of your weapons; you need to know how to use and take advantage of the game’s systems to succeed.
Climbing opens the world in unexpected ways
Link can do much more in Breath of the Wild. He can sprint, paraglide, and even climb. Climbing takes stamina, so while you aren’t incredibly mobile early in the game, upgrading your stamina gauge makes things easier.
Climbing completely changes the way you interact with the world. All of a sudden, every single mountain or structure you can see reaching towards the clouds in the distance is now reachable. The verticality of Hyrule means that exploration takes on a new meaning as you go out of your way to try and discover all the secrets it hides.
Incredible Sense of Exploration and Discovery, Even When Just Wandering Aimlessly
What makes the open world of Hyrule so brilliant is the subtle way it pushes the player towards exploration. Even just walking through fields and climbing mountains is bound to give bring you to something new. The story gives you four possible locations to go to and then lets you loose. An open world begs to be explored and Breath of the Wild’s gives players dozens of reasons to do so.
The next Legend of Zelda title will have to reach the heights of Breath of the Wild, offering emergent gameplay moments that make every player’s game feel unique. Everyone approaches the story in a different way, so no two people will experience the story exactly the same.
Think of a way to approach combat, and it is likely possible
Combat is no longer about simply swinging a sword, blocking with your shield and flipping backwards. Think of a way to dispatch your enemies, and it’s likely possible. Paraglide over a pack of Bokoblins and drop bombs on them. Roll a bolder over them. Ignite an explosive barrel and watch them ragdoll into the air. Attach balloons to a crate and then let it drop on their heads.
Of course, you can still just fight enemies the traditional way, but with all of the options at your disposal there is no reason to not experiment and see exactly how creative you can get. Because weapons break relatively quickly, it’s always good to find a way to save the best parts of your arsenal for later.